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they were seen together one morning by the opposite neighbour, at breakfast: and another time this Belford was observed to watch Mr. Hickman's coming from her; so that, as it should seem, he was mighty zealous to in. gratiate himself with Mr. Hickman; no doubt to engage him to make a favourable report to Miss Howe of the intimacy he was admitted into by her unhappy friend; who (as she is very ill) may mean no harm in allowing his visits, (for he, it seemeth, brought to her, or recom. mended, at least, the doctor and apothecary that attend her: but I think (upon the whole) it looketh not well.
I am sorry, Sir, I cannot give you a better account of the young lady's prudence. But, what shall we say?
Uraque conspectâ lixorem ducit ab uvâ,
as Juvenal observeth.
One thing I am afraid of; which is, that Miss may be under necessities; and that this Belford (who, as Mrs. Smith owns, hath offered her money, which she, at the time, refused) may find an opportunity to take advan. tage of those necessities: and it is well observed by that poet, that
Egrè formosam poteris servare puellam :
And this Belford (who is a bold man, and hath, as they say, the look of one) may make good that of Horace, (with whose writings you are so well acquainted; nobody better ;)
Audax omnia perpeti,
Gens humana ruit per vetitum nefas,
Forgive me, Sir, for what I am going to write: but if you could prevail upon the rest of your family to join in the scheme which you, and her virtuous sister, Miss Arabella, and the Archdeacon, and I, once talked of, (which is to persuade the unhappy young lady to go, in some creditable manner, to some one of the foreign colonies,) it might not save only her own credit and reputation, but the reputation and credit of all her family, and a great deal of vexution moreover. For it is my humble opinion, that you will hardly (any of you) enjoy yourselves while this (once innocent) young lady is in the way of being so frequently heard of by you: and this would put her out of the way both of this Belford and of that Lovelace, and it might, peradventure, prevent as much evil as scandal.
You will forgive me, Sir, for this my plainness. Ovid pleadeth for me,
·Adulator nullus amicus erit.
And I have no view but that of approving myself a zealous well-wisher to all your worthy family, (whereto I owe a great number of obligations,) and very particularly, Sir,
Your obliged and humble servant, Wedn. Aug. 9.
P. S. I shall give you farther hints when I come down, (which will be in a few days;) and who my informants were; but by these you will see, that I have been very assiduous (for the time) in the task you set me upon. The length of my letter you will excuse for I need not tell you, Sir, what narrative, complex, and conversa
tion letters (such a one as mine) require. Every one to his talent. Letter-writing is mine. I will be bold to say; and that my correspondence was much coveted in the university, on that account, by tyros, and even by sophs, when I was hardly a soph myself. But this I should not have taken upon me to mention, but only in defence of the length of my letter; for nobody writeth shorter or pithier, when the subject requireth common forms only-but, in apologizing for my prolixity, I am adding to the fault, (if it were one, which, however, I cannot think it to be, the subject considered: but this I have said before in other words :) so, Sir, if you will excuse my postscript, I am sure you will not find fault with my letter.
One word more as to a matter of erudition, which you
greatly love to hear me start and dwell upon. Dr. Lewen once, in your presence, (as you, my good patren, cannot but remember,) in a smartish kind of debate between him and me, took upon him to censure the parenthetical style, as I call it. He was a very learned and judicious man, to be sure, and an orna. ment to our function: but yet I must needs say, that it is a style which I greatly like; and the good Doctor was then past his youth, and that time of life, of con sequence, when a fertile imagination, and a rich fancy, pour in ideas so fast upon a writer, that parentheses are often wanted (and that for the sake of brevity, as well as perspicuity) to save the reader the trouble of reading a passage more than once. Every man to his talent, (as I said before.) We are all so apt to set up our natural biasses for general standards, that I wondered the less at the worthy Doctor's stiffness on this occasion. He smiled at me, you may remember, Sir—
aud, whether I was right or not, I am sure I smiled at him. And you, my worthy patron, (as I had the satisfaction to observe,) seemed to be of my party. But was it not strange, that the old gentleman and I should. so widely differ, when the end with both (that is to say, perspicuity or clearness,) was the same?-But what shall we say?
Errare est hominis, sed non persistere.
I think I have nothing to add until I have the honour of attending you in person; but I am (as above,) &c. &c. E. B.
MR. BELFORD, TO ROBERT LOVELACE, ESQ.
Wednesday Night, Aug. 30. Ir was lucky enough that our two servants met at Han. nah's, which gave them so good an opportunity of exchanging their letters time enough for each to return to his master early in the day.
Thou dost well to boast of thy capacity for managing servants, and to set up for correcting our poets in their characters of this class of people,† when, like a madman, thou canst beat their teeth out, and attempt to shoot them through the head, for not bringing to thee what they had no power to obtain.
* The Windmill, near Slough.
↑ See Letter LXII. of this volume.
You well observe* that you would have made a tho 'rough-paced lawyer. The whole of the conversation. piece between you and the Colonel affords a convincing proof that there is a black and a white side to every, cause: But what must the conscience of a partial whitener of his own cause, or blackener of another's, tell him, while he is throwing dust in the eyes of his judges, and all the time knows his own guilt?
The Colonel, I see, is far from being a faultless man: but while he sought not to carry his point by breach of faith, he has an excuse which thou hast not. But, with respect to him, and to us all, I can now, with the detestation of some of my own actions, see, that the taking advantage of another person's good opinion of us to injure (perhaps to ruin) that other, is the most ungenerous wickedness that can be committed.
Man acting thus by man, we should not be at a loss to give such actions a name: But is it not doubly and trebly aggravated, when such advantage is taken of an unexpe rienced and innocent young creature, whom we pretend to love above all the women in the world; and when we seal our pretences by the most solemn vows and protesta. tions of inviolable honour that we can invent ?
I see that this gentleman is the best match thou ever couldest have had, upon all accounts: his spirit such another impetuous one as thy own; soon taking fire; vin. dictive; and only differing in this, that the cause he en. gages in is a just one. But commend me to honest brutal Mowbray, who, before he knew the cause, offers his sword in thy behalf against a man who had taken the injured side, and whom he had never seen before.
See Letter LXXXII, of this volume.